Sept. 24 – 28 is voter registration week in Louisiana, and anyone age 17 and up can register. Students who haven’t yet registered to vote can seize this opportunity to do so, as Louisiana residents have the convenient ability to register online.
Louisiana residents can go to voterportal.sos.la.gov/VoterRegistration to register online. When you visit, be prepared with your driver’s license and social security number. When I registered online, it took just a few minutes. I also used the same website to alter my registration later, when I wanted to change my party.
Regardless of the state one lives in, anyone can visit NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org and put in her information to get directed to the appropriate online registration form.
According to the National Voter Registration Day site, “If you’re a student, you can choose either your campus or your permanent address as your home, and vote in elections for that location.”
You can’t use a P.O. box to register to vote, since a P.O. box is not affiliated with any single residence and is only a rented mailbox. Imagine the voter fraud that would take place if people could vote from a P.O. box! People from Texas could vote in Rhode Island, and then their vote would “count” for more electoral votes. We can’t have that, now can we?
Side thought: I wonder how many people have moved to Rhode Island so that their votes were worth more. Funnily enough, the more people who might do that, the less each individual’s vote is worth.
Voting itself must be done in person, but sos.la.gov has all of that information ready for you. You will need to visit voterportal.sos.la.gov and click “Search by Voter” to find the voting booths for your particular address. Remember to bring your driver’s license or state-issued identification! The middle school near my neighborhood is where I have to go to vote, and it’s a mile away.
Early voting is a separate option that lets you take part in an election before the election day. Early voting locations will be different than your election day voting location, but you’ll see the same ballot. Previous to this election I have voted at my parish’s justice center.
Those who are from another state and wish to vote remotely can mail in their votes. This is called a “mail-in” or “absentee” ballot. According to the League of Women Voters of California site, “A vote-by-mail ballot is a paper ballot, with the same candidates and measures on it as you would receive at your polling place on election day. The ballot is mailed to you with instructions on how to mark it and how to return it.”
Voting by mail is easy, but to request the ballot, you have to find your state’s website. As for many other things, I have found it is easiest to just do a Google search. Try typing in “[state name] mail-in ballot.”
On Nov. 6, Louisianians will be electing six new congressmen in what is called an open congressional election. “Open” means you can vote for whatever candidate you like, regardless of the party affiliation on your voter registration. Early voting begins Oct. 23, and to vote by Nov. 6, you must be registered online by Oct. 16. The runoff elections will follow on Dec. 8.
Ballotpedia.org and Nola.com are both websites that provide useful information for every upcoming election. A brief Google search of “Louisiana congressional elections” should also do the trick. Those living in the Greater New Orleans area are in the second congressional district, and will be able to pick between four candidates: Belden Batiste, independent; incumbent Cedric Richmond, Democrat; Shawndra Rodriguez, no party; and Jesse Schmidt, no party.
I recommend taking at least five minutes to read about each candidate, as a little knowledge can be quite worthwhile. Maybe you don’t intend to vote, but you might find that one of the candidates wants to stand up for something you support. Voting is free, and it is a very fundamental way of pursuing your political goals.